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-   -   Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast. (http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18021)

CurtisK 04-27-2010 12:07 AM

Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
I'm looking for advice on putting your mind in the right place for Aikido before class. First it was an intellectual curiosty, but my very limited experience has shown me, usually outside of class when I have time, if you can relax your mind and find your center, everything feels more loose & balanced. You can feel your ki and it leads you to ai so to speak.

Do you have any tips for doing this in 5 - 10 minutes, which is all you have when you get on the mat after a long busy, non-stop day and before class starts. There is a class before yours, plus life & duty, so that is all you have. Keep you mind you're (ok I'm) an out of shape (but working on it) 33yr old that needs to warm up as well.

My current process is that I warm up my specific needs (especially my knees) in the 10min before, and concentrate on my center as sensei leads us through a good relaxed start up. This works for me in general, but I know I need to loosen up (I also get reminded to do so) as the class progresses.

So, effective tips for centering your mind and ki before class after a typical long hectic day. Once you get it centered, how do you keep it from wondering? I'm happy with the answer "keep working at it", and being new I expect to do nothing less. I also talk to people I know; but I am always open to advice from anywhere so thought I'd ask what you do.

Amir Krause 04-27-2010 12:23 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
For each his own solution, you could try:
1. Tai-Sabaki: train the basic body movements, steps etc.
2. Sitting Meditation
3. Just sitting and visualizing techniques

Amir

CurtisK 04-27-2010 12:59 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
To be clear, I understand you can not tell me how I need to prepare. So please share with me/us how you relax and put your mind in place for Aikido, and maybe a statment about why it works for you. Perhaps from reading how you get ready, myself and other readers can consider how to blend your experiences into ourselves.

John Matsushima 04-27-2010 01:01 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
I think the key is that your mind should always be in the right place.

CurtisK 04-27-2010 01:09 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Quote:

John Matsushima wrote: (Post 256478)
I think the key is that your mind should always be in the right place.

Yes, maybe I'll get there. I'm happy for the process of persistant enlightenment to take as long as it needs. If your mind is always in the right place, well then I imagine you certainly are special as I know very few (ok, none) trully aware peolple that would claim this.

Jedi Knights aside, I'm a simple person with a busy life wanting to listen to anecdotes of how others clear their mind to prepare to learn to find ones aiki.

raul rodrigo 04-27-2010 02:34 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Bokken suburi work for me.

Kwizxi 04-27-2010 03:23 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Here I come with my hippy answer ;)

I recently bought the book "The Intuitive Body, Discovering the wisdom of conscious embodiment and Aikido" by Wendy Palmer. In it she talks a lot about a "basic practice", which is a kind of meditation that can be very quick, or it can be drawn out over longer periods of time...the idea of it being a re-centring exercise to fill in all the little gaps in a day.

Basically it consists of: (this is a sitting medi)

Focussing on the breath, just listening to it, until it sounds even and calm.
From here, look to your energy field, is it even to the front and to the back?
To the Left and to the Right?
Above and Below?
How does Gravity feel?

There are several ways to expand upon this basic exercise, but I have been using it daily and it very centring for me. As far as I understand, it is working on creating and maintaining an open and receptive mind state too.

That being said, I am totally new to Aikido.

Shadowfax 04-27-2010 05:25 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Meditation, learn how to empty your mind. The the tricky part... learn to do it in motion and do so during your warm up.

For me the drive to the dojo is when I start preparing my mind. When I enter the building ,I leave the world at the door. As soon as I enter the dojo there is nothing but aikido. At least that is what I aim for. It does not always work.

dps 04-27-2010 06:05 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Quote:

Amir Krause wrote: (Post 256475)
For each his own solution, you could try:
1. Tai-Sabaki: train the basic body movements, steps etc.
2. Sitting Meditation
3. Just sitting and visualizing techniques

Amir

While sitting breathe slowly, count your inhales and your exhales, exhale twice as long as the inhale This will slow your heartbeat, lower your blood pressure and calm your mind.,

David

DonMagee 04-27-2010 06:13 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
I put on my armor.

Seriously.

I know this sounds dumb, but this has worked for me for years. No matter how much my day sucks, no matter what's going on in my life, when I change into my work out clothing I'm putting on my armor.

In boxing this is putting on my wraps, in judo/bjj/etc this is putting on my gi and belt. I use this as a form of meditation where I imagine I am preparing for a great conflict. I let everything from the day fade into nothing as I prepare for what will be the most important moment in my life.

When I'm done I am very focused and ready to do basically anything. Then I channel that energy into paying attention and trying to learn as much as possible.

I use changing back into my street clothing as the exact opposite. I imagine myself as going home from a great victory. I remove my armor and allow 'real life' to flood back in and prepare myself to face those tasks.

lbb 04-27-2010 08:14 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
I don't try. I just go to class in the state that I'm in, and take it as it comes. Some days everything clicks just right, but most days it doesn't. I'm okay with that. We train in the bodies we have, and also in the minds that we have, and while there are (generally speaking) things we can do to improve both, there are also limitations -- especially if our efforts are confined to the five or ten minutes before class, but that's really another discussion.

Not every class is going to be a peak experience. The way to develop staying power, in aikido or anything else, isn't to strive for perfection -- it's to glean what is worthwhile from the less-than-perfect. The dojo will be there tomorrow -- will you?

Robert Calton 04-27-2010 09:28 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Quote:

Don Magee wrote: (Post 256491)
I put on my armor...

This is a really neat concept! I've got "relaxing" clothes just for this very same purpose.

I believe you can get your mind ready for Aikido the same way you would get your mind ready for anything else: an exam, a work shift, a writing session, a workout, and so forth. It's different for each person.

For me, I do a combination of breath/visualization exercises with the purpose of phasing everything else out of my picture except what I'm about to do. I become what I'm going to do, keeping a mindful awareness of the present, and try to let everything else fade into the background. If something arises in my mind, I simply acknowledge it, let it go, and return to my breath and the sounds/sensations around me.

The here-and-now is a great place to start! :D
.

ChrisHein 04-27-2010 09:51 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
I think the common way Aikido class is started is the best way.

When you walk into the dojo and bow at the door, your process starts there, then focus on getting ready for class. Let everything else wash away, and only work on what is at hand; getting ready for class.

It's funny that you say something that takes 5-10 minutes, because as time goes on, it will start to happen almost instantly. You'll get there, just stay focused.

Good luck.

Janet Rosen 04-27-2010 01:56 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
I don't do anything special beyond making sure I'm fed, watered, toileted & dressed appropriately :-)

Bowing in, breathing & warmups done as a group are all that are needed for me.

Russ Q 04-27-2010 02:01 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
I would echo Chris's statements. I personally make the attempt to be aware and present during warm up (in our dojo warm up is about a fifteen minute process). I focus on each taiso in warm up and that usually sets me up well for the class....

Cheers,

Russ

SeiserL 04-27-2010 02:51 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
IMHO,create an associated anchor/trigger.

Think of the word that represents the state you want to be in.
Find a time in your life you where in that state.
Step inside that memory as if you were actually there.
Say the word associated with the state you want as you exhale and relax.
Do this repeatedly until saying the word and exhaling becomes associated with the state.
Then just before you step on the mat (or any time) exhale and say the word. If associated strong enough it should trigger the state of mind/body it was anchored to.

Good luck.

Ketsan 04-27-2010 06:36 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Quote:

Curtis Kayfish wrote: (Post 256474)
I'm looking for advice on putting your mind in the right place for Aikido before class. First it was an intellectual curiosty, but my very limited experience has shown me, usually outside of class when I have time, if you can relax your mind and find your center, everything feels more loose & balanced. You can feel your ki and it leads you to ai so to speak.

Do you have any tips for doing this in 5 - 10 minutes, which is all you have when you get on the mat after a long busy, non-stop day and before class starts. There is a class before yours, plus life & duty, so that is all you have. Keep you mind you're (ok I'm) an out of shape (but working on it) 33yr old that needs to warm up as well.

My current process is that I warm up my specific needs (especially my knees) in the 10min before, and concentrate on my center as sensei leads us through a good relaxed start up. This works for me in general, but I know I need to loosen up (I also get reminded to do so) as the class progresses.

So, effective tips for centering your mind and ki before class after a typical long hectic day. Once you get it centered, how do you keep it from wondering? I'm happy with the answer "keep working at it", and being new I expect to do nothing less. I also talk to people I know; but I am always open to advice from anywhere so thought I'd ask what you do.

Remove the distinction between life and Aikido practice. I try not to seperate the mindset I practice Aikido with from the mindset I have the rest of the time.

RED 04-27-2010 07:28 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Me personally for that 5-10 minutes before class, I like to take a swig of water. Rest into a deep hip stretch, and just stay there, focusing on breathing, while getting my hips loose.

Makes me feel energized!

Kevin Leavitt 04-27-2010 08:57 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Lots of great advice. I guess at this point in my life and the years I have been training that training has become a intrinsic habit for me. I simply go to the dojo and put on my gi and train. Whatever I had bothering me or whatever is going on outside is never a thought for me. I simply go to class and train.

I think I probably used to do the whole meditation/breathing/ritual type of thing a little, but really I just show up and train now and I am "in the moment".

I think also that you can do all that wazoo cool "get in the mood" sort of ritual and really not be in the moment or in your body, but rather in some other body or mind set that is really not yours simply because you are trying too hard to be something that you are not at that moment!

I suppose like Don Magee, simply "putting on my armor" or my Gi is my conditioned signal that I am ready to train.

Gorgeous George 04-27-2010 09:06 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Quote:

Alex Lawrence wrote: (Post 256545)
Remove the distinction between life and Aikido practice. I try not to seperate the mindset I practice Aikido with from the mindset I have the rest of the time.

Likewise.

CurtisK 04-27-2010 09:07 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Thank you everyone for your replies, I see a lot of common themes and in general beleive I'm on the right track. One thing I can specifically start doing is starting to unwind the mind earlier. I also like the idea of a specific ritual just for Aikido, such as putting on armor. In fact, it will certainly be added to my arsonal in relation to my statement of starting to unwind my mind ealier. By the time I'm putting on my gi I should be focusing my mind with relaxed purpose on my center.

I will also offer agreement to the "always be one with the universe" replies. When I find the day or life getting out of hand, I will try to step back, breath, remember how I find my ki for Aikido, do so, then either proceed in balance and/or throw a few people around the board room.

Again, thank you all for the current and future responses on this topic.

CurtisK 04-27-2010 09:23 PM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
1 Attachment(s)
As far as breathing, I'll also share this description I have on meditation & breathing techniques.

sakumeikan 04-28-2010 06:58 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Quote:

Curtis Kayfish wrote: (Post 256477)
To be clear, I understand you can not tell me how I need to prepare. So please share with me/us how you relax and put your mind in place for Aikido, and maybe a statment about why it works for you. Perhaps from reading how you get ready, myself and other readers can consider how to blend your experiences into ourselves.

Hello Curtis,
This may not be the answer you require .My teacher states that it is essential that you as a student acquire the following;
1.To leave 'baggage ' at the door of the dojo.That is to say dont bring you everyday problems onto the mat.We are training in Aikido not attending therapy sessions.
2.Cultivate a mind that is like an undyed piece of silk.By this my teacher means view the techniques as though you have just seen them for the first time.
One of my own personal habits is to simply take a deep breath , hold it for a few seconds maybe 10 /15, then shrug my shoulders , raising them upwards, then releasing the breath and dropping the shoulders.This is really all I need to get ready for practice.I am not too fond of lots of stretching etc.Maybe because I am stiff and a mature gent.
Hope this helps.
Cheers, Joe.

lbb 04-28-2010 09:24 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Quote:

Joe Curran wrote: (Post 256577)
1.To leave 'baggage ' at the door of the dojo.That is to say dont bring you everyday problems onto the mat.We are training in Aikido not attending therapy sessions.

Indeed. It's a learned skill to set aside problems that you can't currently address, and to pick them up again when you can address them. Aikido doesn't particularly help with developing this skill, but it seems like many people only become aware of just how much baggage they're carrying around when they take up a practice like aikido that demands a here-and-now focus. As such, aikido training may promote an awareness that there is a problem to be solved -- it won't solve the problem, but perhaps it'll motivate you to seek out one of the many ways that the problem can be solved.

Of course, it's also important to understand what "setting aside problems" means. It doesn't mean that they become unimportant, although if you can set them aside for a time and clear your head, you may decide that they're not quite as big a deal as you had thought. It doesn't cause them to be magically fixed, although again, if you can get the clarity of mind from setting them aside, you may find that more solutions occur to you. All it really means is that you acknowledge that you're not going to solve them now, so you're putting them on hold for a time.

Pema Chodron has a great deal of wisdom to share on the subject of dealing with life's pains and irritations and maintaining one's equilibrium (which, it turns out, really isn't a matter of maintaining one's equilibrium, but that's the subject of a much longer discussion). Here's an excerpt from one of her talks which is funny as hell and also really to the point, about controlling how things aggravate you.

"I am going to get rid of anything, including mosquitos, that bothers me anywhere in the world, and then I will be a very happy, content person."

Janet Rosen 04-28-2010 09:33 AM

Re: Getting Your Mind Ready. Fast.
 
Quote:

Kevin Leavitt wrote: (Post 256553)
I suppose like Don Magee, simply "putting on my armor" or my Gi is my conditioned signal that I am ready to train.

I should have mentioned that too.... I'm really clothing or uniform habituated, back to when I was a hospital staff nurse & had to literally put on a uniform for the role, at home I put on special clothes for both painting & gardening that really differentiate things for me, and so too the gi.
But I do think that in any garment, just as one enters the kitchen ready to cook or the office ready to work, being mindful and present means being ready for whatever one is going to do.


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